Technology, any modification of the natural world designed by human beings to solve human problems, enhance human life, or extend human capability, was identified by the United States Department of Labor as an essential workplace competency in a 1992 report called the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). SCANS stated that students should be able to select equipment and tools, apply technology to specific tasks, and maintain and troubleshoot equipment. The Department of Education recognized its importance by including technology in the original cross-content workplace readiness standards. In keeping with today’s technological society, technological literacy has been further emphasized by its inclusion as a separate standards area which focuses on both computer and information literacy and technology education.
Technology is evolving at an amazing rate, with both frequent advancements of existing technology and the creation of new technologies. All students must understand and be comfortable with the concepts and application of technology, not only in order to function in today’s complex society, but also to become informed and productive adults of tomorrow.
Computer and Information Literacy
Computer and information literacy, which supports skills in information-gathering, information-organizing, and problem solving, has become critical for every student whether college- or workplace-bound. Colleges and employers are now demanding that students and employees possess a broad range of computer and information literacy proficiencies. More and more retail purchasing is being done on-line every year, and all but the most menial of positions now require a significant understanding of computer and information literacy. To ensure that students are computer literate, a separate standard that defines rigorous, in-depth learning has been included. The computer and information literacy standard is designed to be integrated and applied in all of the content areas of the Core Curriculum Content Standards.
The technology education standard was developed to ensure the literacy needed by all students to succeed in a highly technological world. Business and industry has clearly stated the need for technological skills in the workplace of the 21st Century.
This standard is based on the Standards for Technological Literacy (STL): Content for the Study of Technology (ITEA, 2000), developed as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funded by the Technology for All Americans (TfAA) project.
A study by DeKlerk has found that students form negative attitudes about the technological world if there are no formal technological experiences during the early school years. This finding is a great concern to New Jersey business and industry. Other cognitive research suggests that "design-based learning" is important. Early studies with design and technology curriculum indicate that students who learn important technological concepts develop positive attitudes about technology, math, science and learning in general. For these reasons, an introduction to technology education, including engineering and technological design, is an essential component of a thorough and efficient K-12 education.